Welcome to Action Reloaded, David. You took the reins and directed Saw V, how did you want to mark your stamp on the franchise?
By the time I directed Saw V I had already been a big part of establishing the look and tone of the franchise on Saw II, III and IV. What I hoped to do was answer a few of the big questions behind the overarching story- How was John Kramer able to pull off what he did? Was there someone else helping him? How would his legacy go on after his death?
I have always been curious, was the bear in Into The Grizzly Maze, real? If so did you have to film the actors and bear separate or was it trained?
There are only nine shots of a VFX bear in Into The Grizzly Maze. All the rest are the very real and famous Bart the Bear, the incredibly intelligent and personable trained grizzly from Utah. There was always a safe zone between the actors and Bart but in a few shots we had to do separate plates. For most shots the cast and bear were in the same shots.
Moving onto the present, your latest movie which is a solid action/thriller is titled Dangerous, it stars Scott Eastwood. What was it like working with Scott?
Working with Scott was an incredible experience. He is everything a director hopes for in a leading man. Collaborative, curious, and relentless about bringing the character to life in an honest and believable way. He had a lot of great input into the script prior to and all the way through shooting.
It reminded me of classic movies like Under Siege and Die Hard. Are you a fan of the one man against the odds movies?
I’m a huge fan of the reluctant hero movies and one man against the odds always make for good fun and tension.
The location and the island looked beautiful and quite peaceful, until the mercs appeared of course. Where is the island located and is the big guest house actually a feature of the island?
Guardian Island isn’t a real island. The whole movie was shot in the interior of British Colombia at four different locations and glued together with VFX and clever editing. But the Inn is a real place built in 1908. It sits by a lake deep in the mountains on the side of a 580,000 acre ranch.
Did Scott, do much research into anti-social personality disorder and how sociopaths would behave and their mannerisms?
I think Scott did a great deal of research for this role because he nailed the character so perfectly. Scott and I worked very hard to find the sweet spot for D Forrester in each scene, especially in the beginning of the story. How do you portray a character who basically shows very little emotion because of the meds he’s on, while trying to maintain a sense that this guy is volatile and dangerous?
I said earlier, it reminded me of Die Hard, the back and forth between Eastwood’s Dylan and Mel Gibson’s psychiatrist were gold, especially as Gibson’s character was getting drunk with each phone call! They are the McClane and Powell of the movie, would you agree?
Yes, definitely. Mel Gibson was wonderfully collaborative right from our first phone call. I wanted his character to be slowly unwinding as the story progressed, realizing that if D falls off the wagon and starts killing again, he will have failed as a therapist. It was Mel’s idea to have him popping pills and getting more drunk with each call.
The movie has plenty of action. Was there any action or stunt sequences that were quite challenging to shoot?
The finale fight between D and Cole was our most challenging stunt sequence, mainly because it was staged at the edge of a 40 foot precipice, inside an abandoned glass factory. But the fight itself was well rehearsed and Scott and Kevin Durand (Cole) are both in great shape and very agile. The tricky bits were the wire work and high fall, but we had a fantastic stunt team headed up by Bill Ferguson and his crew, who I worked with on Daughter of the Wolf.
Dangerous, ends on an open note, do you plan to revisit Dangerous and Dylan Forrester? If so can you tell us any ideas of a sequel or prequel?
I wanted to end it with a world of possibilities for D. I’ve already sketched out a few different scenarios to follow Dangerous and I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you.
I heard you’re developing a movie and a sequel to it titled Cappawhite? Being based in Ireland, I can’t help but wonder will you be filming on location?
I am developing a horror series based on Jerry Tate’s Cappawhite novel trilogy, which we have optioned through my wife’s production company Skyrocket Films. We certainly hope to shoot it on location in Ireland and will be looking for production partners soon.